Leave Your Phone Behind: Travel Unplugged

 

In an age of smartphone-dependency and social media addiction, we often hear the phrase, “pics or it didn’t happen.” Whether it’s used sarcastically or not, the truth is that so much more emphasis is being placed on travel photos these days instead of the experience itself. And I think now more than ever, we ought to step back, leave our smartphones behind, and learn to travel unplugged.

While exploring the charming town of Cesky Krumlov, Wes and I noticed these murals that had been posted on building walls in an alley by the river. At first glance, it looked like your ordinary graffiti but after taking a closer look, each one included a phrase that basically mocks our generation of photo-snapping, attention seekers. Captions like ‘Buy a better camera, you’ll look happier on Facebook’ might seem funny at first, but I think they shed light on a big issue facing our generation.

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We know most major tourist attractions are congested crowds. Now each person in the crowd has a phone and/or selfie-stick with them to make sure they capture the perfect photo. The photo that proves they actually traveled there. The photo that will be edited, captioned and hashtagged to ensure the most likes.

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And this is where I ought to confess: I’m just as guilty as the next person when it comes to posting and staging photos. And it wasn’t until recently that I noticed I had a problem this. While Wes and I are in between travels, I find myself anxiously awaiting the next adventure and looking for ways to make the most of weekends in the Vancouver area. The difference was, when the weekend came around I was itching to go somewhere but not for the right reasons. I actually found myself thinking of daytrips and getaways more because I hadn’t posted a picture in a long time than for the fact that I wanted to go exploring with my boyfriend. How ridiculous is that?

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On a related note, I love how Liz Carlson from Young Adventuress blogs with such an honest voice. In this post titled "Why Experience Still Matters” she openly discusses her love for the @socalitybarbie Instagram account, her dislike for all things fake on Instagram and does a great job of addressing the line between reality and fantasy in the online world. How is it that the photographs have now suddenly become more important than the experience itself?

This year, I’m taking a lesson from the artists of the graffiti images pictured here and I’m hoping to travel unplugged more often than not. Ask Wes and he’ll tell you I worry too much about photos when we’re traveling and now I finally agree. Capturing photos will always be important to me but certainly not more important than the experience itself.